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Faecal immunochemical tests (FIT) are designed to detect small amounts of blood in stool samples (faecal occult blood) using antibodies specific to human haemoglobin (Hb). These tests are recommended by NICE to guide referrals for suspected colorectal cancer in symptomatic patients. [DG 30 – quantitative faecal immunochemical tests to guide referral for colorectal cancer in primary care] and in NICE guideline [NG12: Suspected cancer: recognition and referral]. FIT is also recommended by the UK National Screening Committee and has replaced gFOBT as part of the testing strategy for the UK Bowel Cancer Screening Programmes.
All 4 nations in the UK offer a population screening programme using FIT, however the screening strategies differ according to the endoscopy capacity available.
The Quantitative FIT EQA programme is designed to assess performance of laboratories undertaking FIT as part of the diagnostic investigation of colorectal cancer in symptomatic patients and in the assessment of specialist centres using FIT for the asymptomatic population screening for colorectal cancer. Weqas also offers a qualitative EQA programme for those laboratories that are still using gFOBT.
The base material is organic material which closely mirrors the basic constituents of human faeces to which a known quantity of Hb (as human whole blood) is added. Material at a range of Hb concentrations is prepared to cover the pathological and analytical range for FIT including samples at or near the clinical cut-off of 10 ug Hb /g used for symptomatic testing pathways and the higher cut offs used in asymptomatic population screening programmes. The homogeneous material is dispensed aseptically into buffered vials specific to each instrument manufacturer.
The three samples per distribution is designed to assess laboratory and method performance, including linearity, bias, and within batch imprecision.
|Quantitative Faecal Hb Programme
|Approx. Range Covered
|2 - 480
|µg Hb/g matrix